Gary Locke’s historic tenure as Ambassador has made America proud.
I’ve known Gary almost 13 years, long before either of us ever imagined we’d be serving together, working for President Obama as Ambassador and Secretary of State.
The first time I heard him speak at the Magnuson Awards in Seattle, Gary talked movingly about what it meant to be the son and grandson of Chinese immigrants. It was a story stamped into his DNA as a public servant, and it became lessons stamped into his DNA as a diplomat.
I’ll never forget reading about Gary’s visit back to his ancestral village in China. Here was Gary, standing in the room where his grandfather and father had stood before.
What a journey, and what a journey Gary traveled in his nearly three years as our Ambassador in Beijing.
He slashed the wait time for a U.S. visa to just three days, and over the last two years, more Chinese investment has flowed into the United States than the previous 11 years combined. Talk about a good return on diplomacy.
I still remember, not long after presiding over his nomination hearing in the Senate, watching that now iconic image of Gary leading Chen Guangcheng to a hospital with a gentle hand wrapped around his arm.
Words didn’t need to be spoken. You could see how much Gary’s support meant, not just to Chen but to activists the world over.
That’s Gary Locke, a champion of human dignity and a relentless advocate for America’s values.